When my dear friend Lauren asked to go on a friend date last week I couldn't say no, especially when she told me she had restaurant week reservations at Tin Angel. Despite this restaurant being in business since 1993 and me previously living off West End, I never made it over here. So the two Laurens trekked across town in sub-zero weather to try something new.The moment we walked in we were greeted by a large circular fireplace. All I could think at that moment was hallelujah because we were freezing, and a blazing fire was a sight for sore eyes. The inside of the space has a old kind of charm, with lots of wood and tin ceiling tiles. Everything about the decor made me feel cozy.
The music they were playing was quite hilarious. Lots of 70s and 80s contemporary light FM classics. Add this to the fact that most people at the bar were my parents age or older and I felt a little out of place. We did hear a wonderfully loud conversation involving three middle-aged drunk divorcees at the bar- so there's that.
Because Lauren and I might as well be twins we ordered the same cocktail: The sparkling hibiscus. This drink was a major let down. The menu said it was made with absolute hibiscus, Lillet and Prosecco so we expected this drink to be served in a champagne flute and what we got instead was a wine glass FILLED WITH ICE. There was so much ice in this drink that it looked like we were drinking water. Also, who adds ice to a wine cocktail?! This should not happen. After adding a glacial amount of ice they put a massive lemon and lime wedge on the rim of the glass and a bright red cherry. It looked like some drink I would be ordering from a swim-up bar in Mexico. And when I finally tasted it, it had no taste. I didn't taste any hibiscus and I barely got a hint of Lillet. Worst $9 I've ever spent on a cocktail.
For our appetizer we both went with the duck prosciutto and deviled eggs. I got a big chunk of duck that should have been sliced thinner and all the way through. Despite the carving issue the taste was really nice. Lauren called it "the fanciest of lunch meats" and I would agree. The horseradish sauce that came with it was really tasty and I'm not ashamed to say I licked it off the plate. The deviled eggs were nice, but not mind-blowing.
For our entree we both ordered the pork shank with mushroom risotto, broccolini and carrots. Something about this dish reminded me of catered wedding food. Very expensive plated wedding food, but wedding food nonetheless. I understand that the Tin Angel has been around for a long time but they really should update their plate presentations and maybe get a little more creative with the vegetables.
The shank, however, was wonderful. I loved the fact that it was served on the bone, and it was so perfectly cooked that when my fork touched it the meat just fell away. The roasted garlic and wine demi-glace worked great with the pork and the mushroom risotto. This dish was pure comfort food.
For dessert they served us a trio of sweets. The best thing on the plate was the apple pecan bourbon cake. It was a soft little bite with a lot of taste, and the apple and whipped cream on top was a nice touch. The cannoli was not a great example of the classic Italian pastry. The cream was too light and clearly didn't have a strong amount of mascarpone and there was so much powdered sugar on top that it made you cough the second it went near your mouth. The brownie was a complete disappointment. It reminded me of something you can get from Costco or perhaps a very fancy Little Debbie. It was VERY chewy and a little overly sweet. I wish I could have just gotten a large slice of the apple cake.
Over all I wasn't blown away by the restaurant week menu at Tin Angel, but since so many people love this place and they have a long history in the neighborhood perhaps I should give them another chance. I'm just sad to say that my first experience was a let down.